2022 sure was an interesting year, huh? There's way, way too much I could reference and discuss in terms of world events, but I think that's best saved for different places and from people far smarter than me. What I can talk about, though, is the video games, and the video games were pretty dang good! Not many "10/10" bangers for me, but a lot of really strong "8/10" and "9/10" games that I had a great time with, to use a bit of numbered shorthand before the main event here.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Web of Fire
Web of Fire is clearly not a perfectly balanced experience, that's for sure, but it was trying things, and I always appreciate that! Its dark tone, while not something I'd always want to see, really stands out and that tone is used to bolster its environments to an impressive degree. The game is fine enough for a quick playthrough, but it feels like it's missing just one more ingredient to really make the premise shine. The story is too minimal and underutilizes the captivating idea of a situation where the villains have the advantage, Daredevil is barely in the game, the music ranges from solid tone-setters to sounding like a GEMS-infused nightmare and flips between the two on a dime, and the combat is either all too easy to ignore or too simple to remain compelling for long unless you really enjoy cheesing dudes against a wall. I suppose I can see why this one's considered a stinker to many and why it didn't exactly change the 32X's fortunes at the very end, but I do think there's some stuff here that deserves proper credit.
Dig Dug: Digging Strike
Some retro revivals around the DS era really didn’t work out well, so I was very pleasantly surprised by Digging Strike. The new mechanics and successful merging of the first two Dig Dug games works really well in creating a game that’s more complex while retaining the feel of the original game. I sure didn’t expect the story to be such a joy either, so much so that I wish there was more of it! I also wish that the unlockable item system was handled better and that Taizo moved faster by default, but even with those issues, it’s such a breezy experience that it’s hard to get too mad at it for those things.
Mangia' is both exactly what you see at first glance and more than it first appears. This is absolutely a game about eating pasta forever in a room with an incredibly annoying beeping sound that you can't escape, but it's also a game that requires a methodical approach rarely seen in games of its time. Mangia' has a uncommon ebb and flow to it, one that requires fast action mixed in with contemplation and waiting for exactly the right moment to take action. It's a simple, charming concept that can engage you for hours with its hidden depth if you really enjoy it, which is the kind of game that really highlights the strengths of the Atari 2600.